Program on Civilian Military Engagement

Harvard Humanitarian Initiative's (HHI) Program on Civil Military Engagement in Disaster Response seeks to create an evidence base for evaluating civil-military interactions in response to humanitarian disasters. Whether in response to conflict, natural disasters, or complex emergencies, international humanitarian organizations and U.S. federal agencies (Department of State, United States Agency for International Development), aim to alleviate suffering and minimize the social, health, and economic consequences of disaster.

In the largest of these emergencies, international humanitarian organizations often work in the same space as international military forces. Coordination amongst international militaries and humanitarian organizations is often challenging for a variety of reasons including differing mandates, varying sets of operating guidelines, capacity levels, and different levels of experience and resources. In large scale disasters, immediacy of action and effective coordination among the affected state, international humanitarian and military actors are essential to saving lives. This necessitates that doctrine, policy, and training are informed by best practice and that best practice reflects the evidence from analysis of humanitarian disasters.